Friday, September 28, 2007

An Economy of Eucharist

I must admit I am no expert in the science of economics. Far from it. Actually, it's one of the few subjects that has almost no appeal to my interest. But it is a hot topic amongst Christian Anarchists, and rightly so, because an alternative political model requires an alternative economy. Or at least an alternative way of looking at how goods should be made, distributed and consumed, apart from the control of the wealthy and powerful.
I cannot bring the subject of economics to mind without going back to something I read years ago, in an introduction to a study of Eucharistic Liturgy by Dom Gregory Dix. I never read the whole study, unfortunately, but that bit in the introduction made an indelible impression upon my memory. He writes about how the Lord's Supper is a model for a perfect society, where each member contributes according to his or her calling and each member is fed by the collective goods freely offered by the community, but this is all done in the context of God's provision of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ communicated in the broken bread and poured out wine. "The gifts of God, for the people of God". He writes, "Over and against the dissatisfied 'Acquisitive Man' and his no less avid successor the dehumanised 'Mass Man' of our economically focussed societies insecurely organised for time, christianity sets the type of 'Eucharistic Man'- man giving thanks with the products of his labor upon the gifts of God, and daily rejoicing with his fellows in the worshipping society which is grounded in eternity. This is man to whom it was promised on the night before Calvary that he should henceforth eat and drink at the table of God and be a king. That is not only a more joyful and more humane ideal. It is the divine and only authentic conception of the meaning of all human life, and its realization is in the eucharist." (Dom Gregory Dix in "The Shape of the Liturgy")
That is all I have to offer in my ignorance of the subject. Just an alternative way of looking at things. And pondering them. And perhaps this seeming Utopian ideal can bring about change for the better, not in simply offering a romantic model for restructuring communities, but in restructuring our priorities, and thus affecting our actions towards our neighbors.

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